Being older and gay

2017 saw both the 50th anniversary of decriminalising homosexuality, which beganRainbow flag the move towards equal rights for gay people, and a ‘pardon’ for thousands of men who had previously been convicted. These events reminded us that older gay people will have spent significant parts of their lives when attitudes were very different, and that this will have affected many people.

Many of the issues related to ageing are similar whether you are straight or gay. But the history of discrimination can make ageing as an older lesbian, gay man, bisexual or transgendered person (LGBT people) even more challenging than it is for the general population. Older gay people are more likely than average to smoke and drink and more likely to have worries about mental ill health.

Currently, older LGBT people are also less likely to have close family support and may be extremely isolated. Older LGBT people are:

  • more likely to be single
  • more likely to live alone
  • less likely to have children
  • less likely to be in regular touch with members of their biological family

As a result of these circumstances older LGBT people are more likely to need care services, but are less likely to feel confident and comfortable using services than the general population, due in part to a history of discrimination.

Older LGBT people in care homes can face discrimination from other residents, and may have to ‘come out’ either for the first time, or again, to ensure that they and their partner have the same rights and respect as other couples expect.

‘Lesbian, gay and bisexual people in later life’ (Stonewall, 2011)

Help and support for older LGBT people in Leeds

Out in Leeds
Monthly social group for older LGBT people with guest speakers, walks, discussions and events, and information on local services.
Contact Sarah Prescott
0113 3893007

Project supporting older LGBT people who may be socially isolated.
Contact Jude Woods
0113 244 2409

You can download these two publications or get them from Age UK:
0800 678 1184
or from Age UK Leeds office

Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (Planning for later life)
(Age UK information guide)

Transgender issues and later life
(Age UK fact sheet).

Leeds Pride
Weekend of celebration in the city centre. 2017 Pride included ‘mellow space’ for older LGBT people at Lambert’s Yard.
Pride 2018 will be on Sunday 5 August
Contact Jude Woods
0113 244 2409

We hope that members feel able to be open about their sexual orientation. Please contact Fran Graham if you would like to suggest how to improve our support and services for older LGBT people.

Please let us know if you find that any information here has gone out of date.

August 2017